NCAA Basketball Pick: +5.5 Utah vs. San Diego State

Jeff Grant

Tuesday, November 18, 2014 2:12 PM GMT

Utah is primed for a breakout year on the hardwood, which makes it a dangerous college basketball underdog against San Diego State Tuesday afternoon.

 

Ready to Make Some Noise
Utah starts the year in the top 25 for the first time since the 2000-01 campaign, which is important to consider when making your NCAA basketball picks, as it hits the road after picking up a 90-72 season-opening victory over Ball State as 26.5-point home favorites.

The Utes have one of the more talented players in the Pac-12 Conference, with Delon Wright being a Preseason All-American on numerous lists after averaging 15.5 points, 6.8 rebounds and 5.3 assists a year ago. Over the last two-plus seasons, the squad is 18-7 SU and 15-4 ATS versus non-conference opponents.

 

A Big Opportunity
San Diego State has won four of its five home games against ranked opponents since the start of the 2011-12 season, which can’t be ignored when looking over the NCAA basketball Odds , as it comes off a 79-58 triumph over Cal State University Northridge.

The Aztecs have captured 12 of their last 15 games versus current members of the Pac-12, while also rattling off five consecutive home wins in this series by an average margin of 13.2 points. It’s important to point out that the squad is 3-1 SU and 2-2 ATS as home favorites of 3.5 to 6 points the last two-plus seasons.

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Improved Schedule
The Utes are certainly expected to land one of 68 spots in the 2015 NCAA Tournament, especially since they’ll be playing three top-20 teams in the non-conference portion of their schedule for the first time since 1996.

Utah is equipped to handle its early-season schedule with added depth from a talent standpoint, as it ranked second in the Pac-12 in defensive points per possession last year, while finishing 15th nationally in scoring margin.

 

All About Defense
The Aztecs have held their last 21 non-league foes to 70 or fewer points in games played at Viejas Arena, which has led to a dominating 20-1 SU record in that situation.

Due to its suffocating defense, San Diego State has put together a 128-15 mark at this venue since 2005-06.

 

Prediction
I’m going to recommend that readers back the Utes as one of their main basketball picks, as they’ve gone 36-16-2 ATS in their last 54 games versus a team with a winning record.

Free NCAA Basketball Pick:  Utah Utes +5.5 at 5Dimes